Portland's Light Rail Goes Underground

by Philip M. Rice, (M.ASCE), Professional Associate; Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc., 710 NE Holladay, Portland, OR 97232,
Joseph P. Gildner, (M.ASCE), Resident Engineer; Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Portland,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 12, Pg. 32-35

Document Type: Feature article


A 29-km extension of Portland's first modern light rail system nears completion. The extension includes a 4.6 km twin-tunnel section and the deepest transit station in North America. Light rail is important to the city of Portland. Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Tri-Met) operates the Max System, a single-route, 24-km line that runs east from downtown, crossing the Willamette River on the 84-year-old Steel Bridge. In 1993,Tri-Met began construction of the Westside Light Rail Project, 29-km westward extension to the town of Hillsboro. Approximately 4.6 km of twin tunnel carries the alignment through the West Hills, which rise several hundred feet at the edge of the city center. Excavation of the tunnels and Washington Park Station presented major construction and mining challenges.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Light rail transit | Urban areas | Tunnels | Subways | Steel bridges | Light (artificial)

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